To recognize more than 50 years of outstanding corporate leadership and significant contributions to the construction, mining and telecommunications industries, Colorado State University will present alumnus Walter Scott Jr. with an honorary doctor of science in engineering degree during the school’s spring commencement ceremonies at 3 p.m. on May 16 in Moby Arena. A highly successful business executive and internationally respected corporate leader, Scott serves as chairman of the board of Level 3 and director and chairman emeritus of Peter Kiewit Sons’, Inc.
"This honorary degree recognizes Walter Scott’s extraordinary accomplishments in business and industry, but even more importantly, it pays tribute to his personal character, integrity and values. He personifies the best and brightest leaders in America," said Albert C. Yates, president of Colorado State and chancellor of the university system. "Mr. Scott is an outstanding role model who brings honor and distinction to Colorado State University. We are very proud of the significant and positive impact he has made in our world."
Scott graduated from Colorado State in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, in 1982 Scott was named the College of Engineering’s Honor Alumnus in recognition of his achievements as president and chairman of Peter Kiewit Sons’.
In addition to his success as an entrepreneur and businessman, Scott continues seeking out ways to provide opportunities for others. Scott and his wife Suzanne are well-known as philanthropists and humanitarians as well as advocates for higher education. In 1982, he established the Walter Scott Jr.
Scholarship Endowment at Colorado State to provide a means for highly motivated young people to pursue their engineering degrees. To date, the endowment has funded 49 scholarships to undergraduate students seeking engineering degrees and continually supports the educational endeavors of approximately 18 students each year at Colorado State.
"For 15 years, the engineering students at Colorado State have been the benefactors of Walter Scott’s generosity and vision. He has motivated the students he supports to create new opportunities for our nation and engineer new solutions to many of the world’s problems," said Neal Gallagher, dean of the College of Engineering. "Mr. Scott has demonstrated many times over his sincere commitment to higher education and strong belief in the ability of our students to take Colorado State to the next level of scientific, economic and social achievements."
Scott joined Kiewit Sons’ in 1953 and, through hard work and determination, was named vice president and elected to Kiewit’s board of directors in 1964. He became president of the company in 1979 and was named chairman of the board after Peter Kiewit’s death.
Under Scott’s leadership, Kiewit adapted to a changing world to meet the needs of society and expanded to include operations in mining, construction materials, packaging operations, communications and energy. Kiewit has grown to become one of the largest construction and mining companies in North America and is listed as a Fortune 500 company and ranked by Fortune Magazine as one of America’s Most Admired Companies.
In 1985, Scott, recognizing the differing structure needs of Kiewit’s core and diversified interests, separated the business into two companies. He created Kiewit Diversified Group to focus on telecommunications and computer services and to develop a nationwide Internet-based telecommunication network. The company was renamed Level 3 Communications in 1998 and already is an industry leader in providing broadband networks fully dedicated to high-volume corporate business.
Scott semi-retired from Kiewit in 1998 but still remains director and chairman emeritus while also serving as chairman of the board at Level 3.
"With his combined business and philanthropic orientation, Scott exemplifies the very best of our graduates – success in business and the vision to give back to his community and to important educational and other humanitarian institutions," said Sandra Woods, head of the Department of Civil Engineering at Colorado State. "Mr. Scott has taken his Colorado State education to a higher level through an entrepreneurial vision, and his achievements demonstrate what a modern land-grant university is about."
Scott grew up in Omaha, where he lives today, in the same city that houses Kiewit Sons’. Scott’s success has made him the feature of cover stories in numerous publications including Forbes Magazine, USA Today and Barron’s magazine.
Scott has been awarded several business honors, including membership into the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame, the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement and the Horatio Alger Award from the Horatio Alger Association. Scott serves as director for several prominent businesses, including RCN Corp., Commonwealth Telephone, Burlington Resources, Berkshire Hathaway, Valmont and others.
Scott also serves as chairman, president or director for a number of community and non-profit organizations including the Omaha Zoological Society, Joslyn Art Museum, Creighton University, the Omaha Development Foundation and others. He previously has served in leadership roles for the Boy Scouts of America, the Boys’ Club of Omaha, the United Way and Bishop Clarkson Memorial Hospital.